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In Polish, 'Magistrat' means town hall, which might seem rather an odd name for a bar located in a cellar. However, this bar is located a door or two away from Krakow's actual city hall on All Saints' Square, so perhaps it's just a touch of cheeky competition for the city's administrators or an open invitation for them to take a break from their civic duties.
As is often pointed out, Krakow has a lot of bars, many with witty themes and many buried below ground level. So what does Magistrat offer to attract the punters? Well, the cavernous interior is cheerfully decorated and has lots of nooks and crannies where you can sit in comfort and chat away. There is local art on the walls and frequent live music in a wide range of styles. Additionally, drinks are keenly priced - particularly for such a central location - and the friendly bar staff have good English.
One room has a giant TV screen for sporting events and presentations, while another is where bands set up. There's a good range of beers, a huge choice of shots and cocktails, and the mandatory 'grzaniec' - Polish-style spiced hot wine - which is highly recommended for taking the edge off a winter chill. If you don't fancy an alcoholic drink, they offer what must be the cheapest coffee and cake deal in town.
Magistrat is definitely a good place to visit if you want to see the real life of Krakow, and is a great place to meet people; it's popular with students, many of whom are from all around the world, giving it a relaxed yet cosmopolitan atmosphere.